A magnificent rediscovery.
Paul Sullivan 2009
Brazilian chanteuse Joycé Silveira Palhano de Jesus – Joycé to most - has a habit of releasing gorgeous music. In a career spanning four decades (she put out her first album at 19 years old), she's put out no less than 20 solo records, collaborated with bossa legends like Elis Regina and Vinicius de Moraes, and had her songs interpreted by MPB titans such as Milton Nascimento, Gal Costa and Gilberto Gil
Visions of Dawn, her latest release, will do no damage whatsoever to her pristine reputation, although it isn't a new album. Rather, it's one of those 'lost' musical projects that sometimes get swept under the carpet and resurface at a later date - in this case, a much later date.
The original sessions were recorded in 1976, a peak period in Joycé's career. A year earlier she had been filling in for Toquinho on Vinicius de Moraes' Latin American tour and was subsequently invited to participate in the poet/songwriter’s shows in Europe; in '76 she recorded her legendary Passarinho Urbano in Italy, alongside then-censored songwriters like Chico Buarque, Milton Nascimento, Caetano Veloso, Edu Lobo, de Moraes and others.
Visions Of Dawn was recorded in Paris and features contributions from percussionist Nana Vasconcelos and producer/arranger/multi-instrumentalist Mauricio Maestro, whom Joycé was familiar with from previous bands (namely the folky A Tribo project with Nana and Luíz Eça's Sagrada Familia project, which all three musicians were a part of).
In keeping with those projects, this recording is sparse, bright and not a little dream-like in places. Spun delicately around vocals, guitar and percussion, it's an occasionally psychedelic trip that blends elements of jazz, bossa and samba with ethereal wisps of folkish fancy.
The first two songs, the delightfully insouciant Banana and the mellifluous lullaby Clareana – both of which became hits for Joycé in the 80s – provide a laid-back introduction, while songs like Metralhadeira and Nacional Kid match assertive samba rhythms with harmonious vocals and some sumptuous scat.
The centerpiece of the record is a lush triptych that takes in the languorous finger-plucked cascades of Memorias Do Porvir, the stuttering, rhythmic Visões Do Amanhecer and the dreamy Carnavalzinho. The pseudo-pornographic finale Chegada provides a fitting climax to a magnificent rediscovery.